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Ask The Coach with Dianne McKim

Ask The Coach with Dianne McKim

Life Coach Dianne McKim

Here to help us make sense of our feelings during the Covid-19 Pandemic

It took me by surprise. I never expected to have to deal with it. How was I ever going to handle it? How long will it last? What happened to the life I knew? I don’t know what to do with all the fear, worry, stress, and anxiety I am feeling. Who can help me?

These are all questions and comments I have been hearing lately, mostly as it relates to the pandemic. But these are questions many of us have asked along the way when other things in our life have taken us by surprise or have overwhelmed us.

I can tell you I too have asked some of these questions and made some of these statements. I have also studied and trained as a Certified Coach along with having learned life lessons and I want to help you with your questions.


Dear Dianne,

I am feeling overwhelmed right now. I have children at home all day and I am now trying to work from home, which I never had to do before. I am a single mom, so everything is on my shoulders. How do I juggle it all? What do I do to manage my ever increasing stress?

– Anne B.


Anne, I understand the challenges faced in these unprecedented times and my heart goes out to you. I was a single mom for 14+ years, so I understand juggling everything, and I do mean everything, can absolutely be overwhelming. It can definitely cause a huge spike in stress.

There are some definite steps you can take to help you manage stress. First some insight for you about how your body handles stress. The Adrenal glands naturally make cortisol in response to stress. This is a good thing because it helps us respond to short term stress with our “Fight or Flight” response, like if we are in a car accident and the adrenaline is rushing. After the accident, when things settle down, our adrenaline returns to “normal”.

However, if we deal with stress for a long time and it doesn’t let up, then the elevated cortisol levels can cause a lot of stress-related symptoms such as anxiety attacks, labored breathing, anger, exhaustion, irritability, depression, thyroid issues, high blood pressure and so on.

So, knowing this is important for all of us to take steps to bring our stress levels down.

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself Ann.

Learn to say No – I realize that may sound simple or maybe even impossible, but trust me, you can do it. You don’t have to take on everything. You can figure out what is critical, what is important, and what is not necessary. Eliminate the “not necessary” items from your day to day. This will help your children also, by them seeing it is ok to say no. They will see mom taking care of herself so she can take care of them.

Start a stress journal – This can really help you identify what specific things cause you stress and how you respond to those things. Identifying the stressor is an important first step.

Take a breath – When you feel your stress level rising, stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes for a moment and just be. You can even have your children do this as well if things with them are getting out of hand. Call an “audible” and have all of you stop, sit down, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then you will be able to work together as your stress level has gone down.

Protect your time – Working from home can be a great thing, but if the children aren’t busy during that time, it is hard to stay productive. There are great resources online these days with lots of activities and lessons that you can use with the children so they are busy and learning while you work. Help them understand the importance of giving you the time you need for your job. Sometimes they just need to know you love them and will give them quality time after x amount of time (you determine what the amount of time is).

Laugh – I know this may be a challenge when life seems overwhelming, but know it is an important factor for us. We need to release emotions and when we laugh all kinds of great things happen inside for us. Our pressure decreases, our cortisol level goes down, our feelings turn more positive, we are better able to cope with things, and we become more mindful and stay in the present. So, play a game, read a funny story, watch a funny movie… do the things that you and your family enjoy.

Ann, I am here and praying that these tips help you handle all that comes your way.

Readers: If you have a question for Dianne, please send it to her at Names may be changed to protect identities. All questions may not be published here on Rivertown Magazine.

Dianne McKim is a Certified Business and Life Coach with a passion to help her clients achieve their greatest self personally, professionally, and spiritually. Her 35+ years in Corporate America, her training, and her life experiences provide her with deep wisdom to help her clients overcome negative emotions, overwhelm, lack of confidence, and more so they succeed.

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